After our visit in Madrid we headed north to the Basque region and the world famous Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. We only spent two nights in Bilbao, but it was a beautiful area, a small stone city surround by rolling green hills on all sides. Our hotel was right in the middle of the downtown area and gave us great walking access to tapas restaurants as well as all of the tourist sites. After getting settled in the hotel, having lunch and taking a nap we headed out to start the sightseeing. We started with the Museo de Bellas Artes which was of course a big hit with our toddler, luckily it wasn’t too large and we didn’t meander too long. She was much happier with the walk around Bilbao afterwards even if it was in the rain part of the time.
Guidebooks – Since we were traveling light we kept our books to a minimum. For this leg of our trip we used Fodor’s Spain and were very happy with it. We never felt the need for a city specific guide. We have now used it for five trips to Spain and never needed anything more. For European travel in general Fodor’s are my go-to Travel Books.
Transportation – This is a much smaller city than we had visited thus far. While there we were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go.
Lodging – We stayed at the Ibis Bilbao Centro for $82 per night. It was perfect, it was literality right in the middle of everything. It met our requirements of less than a kilometer from the train station (that was our limit for walking with all of our stuff), and in the heart of the pedestrian district. Ibis hotels deserve a post of their own which I’ll get to at some point, but if you are comfortable staying in an Ibis then look no further because this a perfect.
Museo de Bellas Artes – Bilbao’s Fine Arts Museum this is certainly smaller than the fine art museums of the big European cities, which of course also means it’s entry fees are as well. It’s worth a stop if you have time to see everything or need to take an abridged tour as we did. I would also mention not to bypass the modern art sculptures that can be found surrounding it.